Just a few years ago, Greta Thunberg was a mute 11-year-old child suffering from high functioning autism. She was slowly slipping away right in front of the eyes of her family, who could not understand how to help her or bring back a zest for life into her.
One day her school showed the students a film about climate change and its dangers. And that was it. Greta had found her zest for life. She knew what she wanted to do, what she wanted to think, and speak about, and slowly she became the most powerful voice of climate activism in the world.
Greta’s journey was not an easy one. Not only was she bullied by her peers and school, but she faced intense criticism and backlash from almost every side she turned to. There were very few people who wanted to hear her out. Most people were dismissive of a ‘child’ speaking of things she ‘had no idea about.’
It is essential to realize what a powerful symbol Greta Thunberg is. Not only did she start her journey as a minor who was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, but she found herself isolated and alone in her fight against climate change.
International students have a lot to learn from this little girl- from her strength of character, her determination, her strong voice, and unchanging opinions, to the fact that right now, Greta is actually at a place where she is heard by people, worldwide.
International students who go abroad to study all face a few things in common. These can be feelings of wanting to fit in, loneliness and anxiety and wanting to be heard, to name a few.
The reason why Greta Thunberg can be a great inspiration to these students is that she too faced the same issues but at a much younger age, and had to fight to have her voice heard not only among her peers but actually around the globe.
Greta Thunberg wants to spread the message of climate change, the dangers of this rapid climate change, and what every individual can do in their little ways to prevent this from happening.
So what exactly does Greta Thunberg want students to do, and why should international students listen to her?
Thunberg wants every person to become aware of climate change and work actively to reduce their carbon footprint in the world. Not only has she adopted these methods herself, but she has also been able to convince her parents as well as thousands of people all over the world to adopt the same methods.
The primary and most important thing that Greta wants is for the political leaders to hear her out, and to take action. She is an extraordinarily goal-oriented and action-driven personality, and she wants immediate action to be taken.
However, political leaders seem to be quick to dismiss her for various reasons. Maybe they don’t want to invest in the capital required to make these changes. Maybe they think she is just a young, hyper girl whose words don’t matter much.
Or perhaps they are afraid of change, and how others will react to this change. Greta soon figured out that calling out to these leaders will not do much.
That is when she started speaking to students.
Here are a few things that she wishes students would do:
- She wants young students to become aware of the real dangers of climate change, which is not only fast approaching but has already started showing its effects. No one should follow anybody’s words blindly. That goes against her entire belief system. Instead, she wants young students to be educated on the matters of climate change. Only then will they understand why it is essential to act fast.
- She wants people to reduce their carbon footprint. This can be done in a lot of little ways. However, even little changes require effort. She is aware of this, yet she urges young people to be determined to make these changes.
A few of these changes include-
- They are eliminating plastic waste and non-biodegradable products. These products are piling up, and there is no getting rid of them without the emission of even more harmful gases into the atmosphere. These gases are breaking the ozone layer, making the earth hotter, and a dangerous place to live in.
- Travel by trains- not planes. Yes, planes are faster, more convenient, and probably even more luxurious than trains. But each flight releases a huge amount of carbon emissions into the atmosphere. The only way to stop this from happening is to boycott planes and use road or sea travel instead. Greta has been doing so herself- travelling all around by sea or by train.
Greta Thunberg is a vegan climate activist. And after she introduced herself to the world with a big bang, researchers and scientists have been looking into her claims to figure out if this little girl could be right after all. It turns out she is.
The lifestyle changes which Greta proposes for individuals could be great for the planet, as well as on an individual level as well. However, to make any little change, she requires young students to join forces.
For this, students have to educate themselves, listen to her speeches, and understand what she is saying. There are several straight points that she has made to world leaders. However, these points go vastly ignored.
Thunberg is acutely aware that it is going to take a great amount of time, patience, and hard work to make this change. Her proposal is not to make these changes to ‘become better’ individuals, but to do these to save the planet.
There are several articles, speeches, and talks of Greta Thunberg available online, and international students should make active efforts to listen to her and understand the problem. The solutions are clear. Each individual must implement them.
International students have a lot to learn from Greta Thunberg- whether it is how to make an impact, how to be heard in a world full of people who dismiss your every word, or only, how to save the planet.